Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Pics of my Cottage Garden

Just for fun, I'm posting some pics of my cottage garden because some readers have asked (southern Ontario, Canada, Zone 5b). It's very full and very closely-planted, but there are gravel paths separating the beds. It's a square garden set out in four quadrants with a 3-foot wide border all the way around. It's filled with all the romantic flora I love – roses, perennials, flowering shrubs and herbs like sage, lavender and creeping thyme which is creepy enough to pop up in the walkways.

This was uncultivated farmland when we bought it. There was never a house or garden here, and the garden grew out of pasture and meadow that I am forever trying to tame. But you can't tame the wild, as it turns out. You can only make lemonade and convince yourself there is beauty in the chaos. When we put a stop the neighbour's cows pasturing on our land, trees began to grow in the meadows and wild places beyond the garden wall and are now thriving.

I began building the stone wall at the back of the garden about 20 years ago. It's just the rubble stone I pulled out of the garden beds. Every spadeful of soil dug out of the beds required effort to get these rocks out and each bed became empty pits because of it – at least 18" deep. I bought a lot of black earth, manure and peat moss to mix with the original clay. But I got a garden out of it as well as a garden wall nearly 4' high,. built over five summers.

I love the "Regal" lily  (right) and one day I'll plant several and have them poke up through a bed of lavender like sentinels. The key to doing that sort of thing is not to shadow the surrounding soil of the lily. The lily dies back to the ground completely and all but disappears in fall. The new growth needs sun.

 There are lots of old roses in the garden, but of the hardier varieties like damasks, albas, centifiolias, gallicas and musk. I can't grow the bourbons or noisettes here, sadly, as they are too tender for my garden.

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